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Cosimo Carfagna

Cosimo Carfagna

Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials (IPCB CNR) Italy

Title: Polymer Science and Phytotherapy: Natural Remedy For Malaria and Cancer based on Electrospun Nanofibers containing Artemisinin

Biography

Biography: Cosimo Carfagna

Abstract

The continuous search of new therapy is requested by a growing resistance to major antimalarials. The sesquiterpene endoperoxide Artemisinin (ART) is currently one of the most effective natural treatment against multidrug resistant Plasmodium species, and ART combination treatments (ACTs) can represent an useful approach to fight resistance, as recommended by the WHO. ART relevance is witnessed by the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded for one half by Professor Youyou Tu. Since seventies, Youyou Tu and her team focused their efforts to the development of new malarial therapies inspired by the traditional Chinese medicine; they discovered that Artemisinin appeared in several ancient recipes to treat the malarial disease. The mechanism of action of ART is ascribed to the presence of an endoperoxide group inside its molecule. On reacting with iron, the endoperoxide group breaks up, producing free radicals. When formed inside a malaria parasite, the radicals can lead to cellular damage and cell death. In a similar way, it has been found that ART is able to affect cancer cells due to their elevated iron concentration; derivatives of ART have shown promising anticancer effects against multiple cell lines derived from various types of cancers. Besides some evidence of the anticancer potential of ART, the exact mechanism of action of this drug in cancer still remains unclear.